Today, the state of Texas preserves tens of thousands of acres of the Canyonlands, in three state parks: Palo Duro Canyon, Caprock Canyons and Copper Breaks. Both Palo Duro Canyon and Caprock Canyons parks were once part of the JA Ranch established by early cattleman Charles Goodnight. Many private Texas ranches preserve millions of acres, some huge and historic like the 165,000-acre Pitchfork Ranch and the 300,000-acre 6666 Ranch, some smaller like Impossible Canyon Ranch and Gyp Springs Ranch.
Where ranchers once hunted wolves, mountain lions, eagles, bears—and even the deer and the wild mustangs—to protect and make room for their cattle, ranchers began in the 1950s to reintroduce into the Canyonlands Whitetail and Mule Deer and Rio Grande Turkeys, once so prolific.
These reintroductions kindled a wildlife renascence. Once again, wildlife fills each of nature's niches throughout the parks and ranches of these Canyonlands. Hunting this wildlife today produces significant income to ranchers, often more than their cattle. Many ranches are devoted to wildlife only.
Texas Parks & Wildlife
Caprock Canyons State Park
Texas Parks & Wildlife's Caprock Canyons State Park provides rare, historical moving picture of Charles Goodnight, his wife, and the last of the wild buffalo. Charles Goodnight, through his wife's concern for baby buffalo whose mothers were killed by commercial buffalo hunters, helped save the species from extinction in the late 1870s.
In our section, Whitetails and Muleys, you can view close-up imagery of these great deer often undisturbed in their habitat on Impossible Canyon Ranch in Scurry County.
© Jim Watson